Notes From A Second Life | December 2014
[These Second Life updates are what I send friends – some from my first life that lasted 18 years in the corporate world, some from my second life when I decided to quit my job, come back to India and work with children and young adults on the values and skills that will prepare them to be leaders with a difference. To read my first Newslet for context and later ones click http://talentease.com/blog/ .]
[The picture of the Magi in the header banner was drawn by my 11 year old nephew Raphael – and was selected from among over 900 artworks submitted by school-students from across the NSW region in Australia, to be displayed at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney. We are very proud of the budding artist in the family and are using his art for our Christmas wishes!]
Warm wishes to you and your family for a very Blessed Christmas and a joy filled New Year. My apologies to those who have been regularly following my Second Life Newsletz, for the long silence. I will try and be more regular in 2015.
One of the great exercises we do with children and young adults in our HeadStart Leadership programmes is to compile a Count Your Blessings Log. We do this, as part of our reflection on one of the important values we cover-Gratitude. The end of the year seems an appropriate time to do this.
It will also help give you an update on the 2014 part of my Second Life journey and its highlights.Here are some of the things that would go on my Count Your Blessings log.
For God and family. I am constantly amazed by God’s faithfulness. This year has been one more year of realizing that whatever else changes, God’s faithfulness and compassion is constant. We’ve all been in good health, enjoying the joy and unity of a loving family. My brothers and I every day are grateful for Mum and Dad; – we look back with gratitude on everything they taught us – through their lessons and more importantly through their lives. I am blessed to have life-mate and companion in Teresa – her love and encouragement keeps me smiling, even when the going is tough. Teresa and I turned parents of a teenager this year and are so grateful for Marcus and Marcela, who remain grounded kids while they continue to explore and achieve. Earlier this year, I was involved in a road accident but was unhurt and God guided us through the tough situation. We continue to marvel at God’s guiding hand in our choices and the undeserved blessings we keep receiving. In times of constant change, He is our changeless anchor.
Dad and Bro get published. This was a big family event. Seeing not one, but two from the family get their books out there- books they had spent months nurturing and crafting.
Dad published his seventh book “The Child is Father of the Man-Tips and Techniques for Wise Parenting”. In this book Dad distilled his and Mum’s experience, as parents raising four boys and the continuous reading and research he has been doing on something he is very passionate about – how better parenting can lead to better children and therefore a better world tomorrow. In his introduction he writes “In this book, Mabel and I share lessons we learned, with the benefit of much reflection, insights from mistakes, and a changed awareness”. Let me shamelessly plug it and ask you to check it out at Amazon where it is available using the link below. You won’t regret it.
Read about Dad’s earlier books at his website www.IgnatiusFernandez.com
My brother, Rudolph’s book was also on a topic he cared deeply about – correcting an injustice in the cricket history. Sachin Tendulkar had always been praised as a great batsman but was always placed lower than the widely acknowledged all-time greatest – Don Bradman. At the risk of displeasing, my many Australian friends, again let me ask you to check the book out! It does an outstanding job of taking a factual look at the respective performances of these two giants of cricket, placing their performances in the context of the challenges each had to face. Whether you like cricket or not, don’t miss this exciting joust in print. Read about the book and also find links to buy a copy at http://www.greaterthanbradman.com/
The TalentEase journey. This continues to be a hardworking but extremely meaningful journey. Let me share my top moment. At one of our sessions we had a brother and sister. The sister was too small to participate so she spent the session time in an adjoining room. The brother was often embarrassed by her butting in now and then and would often rudely shoo her away. The session after we covered our value on Respect for Women, he spoke up to the class saying that he wanted to apologize for treating his sister unfairly and promised to respect her. It is moments like these that we live for. We continued to grow in reaching out to more children giving them critical inputs on skills and values they will need to lead more successful and more meaningful lives. We didn’t do a good enough job of reaching many, many more and will keep trying to do that in the coming year by being a little more innovative and a lot more determined. Our new website went live www.TalentEase.com . Please check it out – would love your feedback.
We also launched our young adults offering, reaching out to college and university students. We did our first University programmes at both Chennai and Bangalore. Our public venue offering gathered steam with more direct to child venues hosting TalentEase leadership programmes. Our first Young Leader Gym went live at Chennai – the first of many that we hope will eventually give children and young adults the place to learn and practice future-ready skills. We are blessed to have a Facilitator family who stay energetic and passionate about making a difference to young people today so we impact tomorrow’s world. This coming year we are looking forward to getting started with our rural initiative which we are calling Light Lives. Will keep you posted and reach out on ways you could be part of this journey.
Friends indeed. Ed Valenzuela, my former boss and dear friend from Accenture was in Hyderabad for a few days and it was joy to catch up on old times and renew our friendship. We also got him in front of a group of children starting their first leadership session. In the middle of a hot day and a power cut, Ed still managed to inspire and inform parents and children on leadership skills and values. Soon after, we had friends from South Africa over – Janet and Chris. Again we took the opportunity of getting children and young adults to learn and be inspired by their experience and example. They did their first talk to kids from under the shade of a tree! They gamely went from group to group sharing generously of their time and insights. Thank you Ed, Janet and Chris.
David Evans religiously gets onto a call every month to give us feedback, challenge our assumptions and improve our model. Sid Sood and Manish Sharma made time to record inspiring messages for our young leaders and support us in our journey. Ramesh Krishnan drove a long way to play ‘mock interviewer’. Harish Devarajan and Paul Sellers gave us the benefit of their ideas and insights. Anand Kabra, played young leadership Evangelist, getting more and more parents to bring their children to our programmes. Just a few among the many friends we have been blessed to have in this journey of working with children and young adults.
A final blessing to count….I don’t have to wear glasses…yet. Survived an eye test this month though the doc made it clear it’s a matter of time.
This isn’t a complete list- just a brief attempt at one, but very gratifying as you will discover when you make yours.
So go ahead and make your own Count Your Blessings log. It’s a great way to close the year and a solid foundation to begin the New Year on. As Reba McIntire, the singer put it “ To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone” so let me wish for you the imagination to dream big, the courage to pursue that dream and the wisdom to not take yourself so seriously that you forget to laugh. God bless and Merry Christmas.